An umbrella flew upwards. Shrill winds buffeted it out from a frayed-gloved hand in the station courtyard. It was the hour of returning home for all kinds of Sunday commuters and not every one of them was so strong as able to firmly fix on their umbrellas. The ranks of sheltered bustling broke and exposed underneath faces aghast at seeing their protection upturned at the very moment it was most needed. Higher and more sideways now, spindly rods bent into catastrophic angles at the merciless play of the gusts. Catching in the bare twigs, the umbrella's dome-like form broke against the extremities of the courtyard tree and sunk the eyes of its once hopeful beholder.
Seeing a whimper begin forming on its owner's lips, the observant young man waved his coat over this elderly gentleman's shoulder to blanket out the winter droplets and taking tenderly the feeble hand and putting this poor fellow in service of his arm's crook, the lad led him confidently to new shelter. Noticing in the old man's pocket a fresh ticket stub had been tinged by raindrops of that earlier unfortunate moment, he saw how its firm and officious black print now blurred and bled the gate number every which way and into an inky oblivion. Smudged into illegibility, he could not tell the appropriate gate for his frail companion, yet, the border of red around the ticket's edge remained and indicated this uncovered soul needed the railway rather than tube. For his own part, our young hero may have taken either to get home but, this day, his would be a mode of escort to the railway tracks. It was not a must but he simply cared to see the elderly fellow taken away from that ghastly view of a mangled hope-felling umbrella and onwards to the promising feeling of being homewards bound seized in the puffs of steam billowing from atop some grand engine that had delivered on its assuredness on days worse even than this puddled grey. His own hopes lay somewhat in seeing the old fellow's thin-lipped silence curl into a smile. A sheepish one would do. The way one does facing Life's comedy of hope.
Once seeing the old man off at his rightful platform, it was then only a matter of slinging that hefty mountaineering coat into a chair beside him and riding a handful of stops. All the while reclining into the tempo of the railway carriage's steady breathing up and down over the tracks. Impatience and panic huffed and puffed by the thronging masses on the street would all be left at the threshold of the carriage door and, stepping on, calm would enter the souls of all but the shifty youth hovering about the toilet entrance for his quick way out of the ticket inspector's path. To be without ticket is to be without calm. #notes #writing #rain #station #Winter